Presidential Fellowships Announce
University of Nebraska President L. Dennis Smith has announced the awarding of eight Presidential Graduate fellowships for academic year 2003-2004. Seven of the students are seeking Ph.D. degrees, four at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, two at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, and one at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Another UNO student is seeking dual master's degrees in social work and public administration. The fellowships include stipends of $16,500 at UNL and 20,000 UNMC. At UNO, the fellowships provide $14,000 for the Ph.D. candidate and $11,000 for the master's degree candidate. Funding for the fellowships is provided through donations to the University of Nebraska Foundation.

This year's Presidential Graduate Fellows are:

Fleura Bardhi, a Ph.D. candidate in marketing in the College of Business Administration at UNL. . Her primary research interest is in consumer behavior aspects of globalization. Ms. Bardhi is specifically interested in the experiences of high mobility and permanent transience that affect the transnational professional. She wants to paint a detailed empirical portrait of these transnational mobile professionals, show how this lifestyle tends to structure consumption practices, and provide analyses of how these professionals anchor their identities. In earlier research, she has shown that global sojourners tend to exhibit nostalgia for shopping and marketing activities back home, but that those who have premised their identities on a global vision (e.g., through global media) tend to make an easier transition into other cultures. Ms. Bardhi earned her bachelor's of arts degree in business administration from the University of Tirana in Albania in 1997, and her master of science degree in international business from the Norwegian School of Management in 1999.

Maria Rosario T. de Guzman, a Ph.D. candidate in psychology at UNL. Ms. de Guzman is interested in research on moral and prosocial behaviors (those that tend to benefit others) among children. Traditional research on these behaviors has been conducted mostly among Western, middle-class children and adolescents. Ms. de Guzman has moved the work outside of the normal boundaries and has studied children's behavior in Kenya, the Philippines, Brazil, and Turkey. For her dissertation, Ms. de Guzman will examine factors of cultural socialization in prosocial behaviors among Filipino and U.S. children. Ms. de Guzman earned her bachelor of arts degree in psychology from the Ateneo de Manila University (Philippines) in 1995, and her master of arts degree, also in psychology, from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2001.

Matthew T. Koetz, a Ph.D. candidate in mathematics at UNL. Mr. Koetz's area of research is in coding theory, which studies efficient ways of transmitting information over noisy channels without losing data. Interference-free transmission is essential for sending data, as well as for conversations and visual images. Mr. Koetz is specifically interested in low-density parity check codes, which are particularly useful in certain situations since they are faster than many other codes currently in use. Mr. Koetz is working on new constructions of the codes that have not been extensively studied, and on developing generalizations of existing constructions and algorithms. Mr Koetz earned his bachelor of science degree in mathematics from New Mexico Tech University in 1997, and his master of science degree, also in mathematics from Northern Arizona University in 1999.

Frederico C. Ocampo, a Ph.D. candidate in entomology at UNL. Mr. Ocampo's research involves scarab beetles, and his goal is to improve knowledge of the evolution of a the Hybosoridae, a beetle family that contains 30 genera world-wide and about 210 different species. It is the most diverse group of scarab beetles in the tropics, and it is considered a turf grass pest is some part of the United States. This research will help build a foundation for future research in ecology, conservation biology, evolution, and control of agricultural pest species. Mr. Ocampo is collaborating with a team whose members are working together on similar research in Brazil, France, Italy, South Africa, and the U.S. Mr. Ocampo earned his licentiate in biology from the Universidad Nacional de La Plata (Argentina) in 1999.

Jeffry N. Talbot, a Ph.D. candidate in pharmacology at UNMC. The subjects of Mr. Talbot's research are Mu Opioid Receptors (MOR) in the brain, which are activated by such drugs as morphine, heroin, and methadone. Prolonged administration of these drugs leads to rapid onset of tolerance, a profound decrease in the drugs' effects, and dependence. In an effort to improve the usefulness of such drugs for therapeutic applications, Mr. Talbot is studying the use of certain proteins to regulate MOR functions. Based on his findings to this point, he believes improved understanding of the regulatory mechanisms of MOR signals in the brain can shed light on the processes by which both opioid tolerance and dependence are induced. He earned his bachelor of science degree in biochemistry from the University of Nevada, Reno in 1995.

Heth R. Turnquist, a Ph.D candidate in pathology and microbiology at UNMC. Mr. Turnquist's area of study is pancreatic cancer, which exhibits resistance to current therapies and has an average survival rate of less than six months and a five-year survival rate of only three percent. He is investigating the immune response to this form of cancer with the goal of developing new immunotherapies for the disease. Mr. Turnquist is currently attempting to determine if a combination of cells in a developing pancreatic tumor enhance immune response and increase the duration of the patient's survival. In addition, he is hoping to determine whether certain characteristics of pancreatic cancer cells deter recognition by the immune system. Mr. Turnquist earned bachelor of science degrees in both biology and psychology from South Dakota State University in 1997.

Max J. Kurz, a Ph.D. candidate in psychology at UNO. Mr. Kurz has devoted considerable effort to the study of wellness, exercise science, and human motion, gait and posture. He has published 16 refereed abstracts on such subjects as neuromuscular aging effects on the variability of lower extremity coordination during the gait cycle, and the effects of footwear on locomotion. Mr. Kurz is currently undertaking research to better understand the mechanism underlying development of postural control during sitting to help improve treatment of movement disorders in infancy. Mr. Kurz earned his bachelor of science degree in biology from Doane College in 1994, and his master of science degree in exercise science and biomechanics from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 1997.

Barbara L. Dewey, a candidate for master's degrees in public administration and social work at UNO. Much of Ms. Dewey's recent research work results from her participation in the study of housing mobility in Omaha, a service-learning group project. The project was undertaken as a cooperative effort between the UNO School of Social Work and Family Housing Advisory Services of Omaha. The purpose was to discover why landlords in suburban areas were resistant to accepting Housing Choice Vouchers to provide homes for low-income individuals and families. Some 128 property managers and landlords were surveyed. The project resulted in recommendations for changes in agency policies and procedures, landlord and tenant education programs, and community collaborations. Ms.. Dewey also conducted a study to examine which family characteristics contribute to feeling close to behaviorally disordered children. Ms. Dewey earned her bachelor of science degree in social science from Upsala College in New York in 1974.
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